From left: Cohiba Siglo V (Tubo), Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Diplomatico Maduro, Bolivar Belicoso Fino, Flor de Las Antillas Belicoso and the Psyko Seven Nicaragua Robusto.
The February Cigar Aficionado tasting was an impressive showing overall. Out of the 80 cigars reviewed in that blind tasting, 32 smokes scored 90 points or higher, outstanding on our 100-point scale, while the 22 cigars featured below hit 91 points or more.
In the issue, our panel of editors tasted cigars in six categories: lonsdales, Churchills, figurados, coronas, robustos and toros/corona gordas. Cuba and Nicaragua continued to shine as cigars from both countries led three of our six size categories.
Every cigar rated by Cigar Aficionado (and Cigar Insider) is smoked blind by our panel of editors. This means each cigar is stripped of its original band and assigned a numeric code for the rating process. The editors have no idea what cigar they are smoking during the tasting, so price, country of origin, cigar manufacturer and other possibly prejudicial information are not considered when a final rating is delivered.
See below for the top cigars from the February tasting, and click here to peruse all the ratings from the issue.
Cohiba Siglo V (Tubo) (Cuba, 94 points): Packed in glossy tubes that come in convenient three-packs, this slender smoke was the top-scoring cigar of the issue. See full tasting note.
Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Diplomatico Maduro (Nicaragua, 93 points): The second-longest cigar in this highly praised line first hit stores in 1994, and remains a top-performer 26 years later. See full tasting note.
Bolivar Belicoso Fino (Cuba, 93 points): This cigar is one of the few Cubans to come in both wooden cabinets and dress boxes. It’s a good candidate for aging either way. See full tasting note.
Flor de Las Antillas Belicoso (Nicaragua, 92 points): The belicoso is consistently one of the top-scoring sizes in this award-winning line from My Father (the Toro was the 2012 Cigar of the Year). It’s made from a blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos grown by the Garcia family. See full tasting note.
Padrón Serie 1926 80 Years (Nicaragua, 92 points): Release to celebrate the 80th birthday of late company founder José Orlando Padrón, this smoke is the only perfecto made by the Padrón family. See full tasting note.
Psyko Seven Nicaragua Robusto (Nicaragua, 92 points): Rolled entirely with Nicaraguan tobacco, the strong wrapper on this smoke is said to be from a crop cultivated in 2007. See full tasting note.
Partagás de Luxe (Tubo) (Cuba, 92 points): Despite its slim dimensions this smoke packs loads of flavor. It comes in a tube with a screw cap, which should help maintain the cigar’s strength as it ages. See full tasting note.
Four Kicks Selección No. 5 (Dom. Rep., 92 points): Rolled by Hall of Famer Ernesto Perez-Carrillo at his La Alianza factory, this smoke was one of the first cigars from Nashville-based Crowned Heads and it’s stll an exemplary cigar. See full tasting note.
MBombay Habano Corona (Costa Rica, 91 points): It’s rolled in Costa Rica, a rarity in handmade cigars, but there’s no Costa Rican tobaccco in this blend. This smoke is crafted with filler from Nicaragua and Peru, along with binder and wrapper from Ecuador. See full tasting note.
Ashton Symmetry Belicoso (Dom. Rep., 91 points): This smoke is blended by Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. and made at Tabacalera A. Fuente y. Cia. in the Dominican Republic for Ashton Distributors Inc. See full tasting note.
Ashton Virgin Sun Grown Sorcerer (Dom. Rep., 91 points): A popular cigar rolled entirely with tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, save for an alluringly dark wrapper from Ecuador. See full tasting note.
Hammer + Sickle Trademark Series Maduro Churchill (Dom. Rep., 91 points): The dark Mexican wrapper on this cigar gleams with oil and covers binder and filler that hail from the Dominican Republic, where it is also rolled. See full tasting note.
Plasencia Alma Fuerte Robustus I (Nicaragua, 91 points): This Nicaraguan puro was added three years after the line originally debuted in 2016 and uses only tobaccos grown by the Plasencia family. See full tasting note.
Micallef Migdalia Corona Extra (Nicaragua, 91 points): At 6 inches by 46 ring, the Corona Extra is crafted with a San Andrés Habano wrapper over a Mexican binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. See full tasting note.
Cohiba Siglo II (Cuba, 91 points): This vitola was only the second Cuban Cohiba to be packed in a tubo (the fat Siglo VI did it first). While this particular smoke doesn’t come in its own storage canister, it still offers great flavor. See full tasting note.
Vegas Robaina Famoso (Cuba, 91 points): Named for Alejandro Robaina (1919-2010), one of Cuba’s most famous tobacco growers, this pressed robusto displays nutty impressions on the palate along with touches of caramel and leather. See full tasting note.
La Flor Dominicana Coronado Double Corona (Dom. Rep., 91 points): One of brand owner Litto Gomez’s highest-rated cigars, this brand was actually pulled from the market for 18 months and then brought back with a new name, but the same great blend. See full tasting note.
Illusione Epernay Le Elegance (Honduras, 91 points): As the first line extension to the core Illusione brand, Illusione Epernay was intended to be a sweeter version of the original. Epernay uses a lighter, shade-grown Corojo ‘99 wrapper from Nicaragua and a blend that has no ligero, which is the strongest type of tobacco. See full tasting note.
Alec Bradley Gatekeeper Robusto (Dom. Rep., 91 points): This blend was not created by brand owner Alan Rubin, but rather his sons Alec and Bradley. The duo teamed up with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, owner of EPC Cigar Co. and the La Alianza cigar factory, to craft this smoke. See full tasting note.
Punch 8-9-8 Exclusivo Asia Pacífico (Cuba, 91 points): Known as a dalia in Cuban cigar factories, the Punch 8-9-8 shares its dimensions with other lonsdales such as the Cohiba Siglo V and the Partagás 8-9-8. This one was made exclusively for the Asia Pacific region. See full tasting note.
Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Toro Box Press (Nicaragua, 91 points): This cigar features the same Nicaraguan binder and filler as the original cigar that won Cigar of the Year in 2008, but the wrapper has been replaced with a light claro leaf from Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley. See full tasting note.